Graduate Profiles

Jatin Patel

Jatin PatelJatin graduated in Manufacturing Engineering.

"When I chose my A Level subjects of Maths, Physics and Economics I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to study at university. I spent a week in a local engineering company for my work experience at school, and having seen what engineers did I thought that would be the right choice for me. I then set about applying to read Mechanical Engineering at university, mostly because I had an interest in cars.

I went to the local comprehensive school, from which hardly anyone applied to Oxbridge. However, the local careers advisory officer came and talked to us about applying to Cambridge, and she was able to explain the system and encourage us to apply. My sister had got in a couple of years earlier to study Natural Sciences, and so I was encouraged by that (plus the fact that she was having a good time). I obtained sponsorship from Ford, and deferred for a year so that I could spend a gap year working for them.

I expected Cambridge to be hard work, which it was, and I did not expect to have a good time socially, as I thought there would be no people with similar interests or background. Luckily I was wrong in this respect. I had a tremendous amount of fun, and was immediately accepted and made to feel at home. There are so many students from so many different backgrounds that it would be difficult not to find people you can get on with.

In the end I was also grateful about the choices offered by the general engineering course. I found the maths very hard at first, but I got a lot of extra help from my College through the supervision system and I stuck with it. By the end of my first year I had definitely decided that Mechanical Engineering was not for me, even though I was sponsored by Ford and worked for them in the vacation. I was attracted far more by the broader courses offered in the area of Manufacturing Engineering, so I decided to take that course for my third and fourth years. We learnt a lot about the business aspects of engineering, and I really loved the long fourth year project which gave us the opportunity for real research. Once I had found the area that I truly liked, my grades went rocketing up.

Now I am working for a small business consultancy company called Marakon. I am finding the work both stimulating and demanding. The experience that I gained during my Manufacturing Engineering course at Cambridge has been a good preparation, but so was the experience of working in teams and problem solving that I gained from my first two years of the general engineering course. What I do really counts and meeting deadlines is extremely important. There are plenty of opportunities for travel in this type of job, which is something that I am looking forward to."

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